GMAT Verbal : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #31 : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Kevlar is a fabric known for its strength and durability it is used to make everything from body armor to musical instruments.

Possible Answers:

strength and durability: it is used to make everything

strength and durability it is used to make everything

strength and durability; it is used to make everything

strength, and durability; it is used to make everything

strength and durability, it is used to make everything

Correct answer:

strength and durability; it is used to make everything

Explanation:

This sentence combines two independent clauses without the use of a coordinating conjunction. A semicolon is necessary to separate the clauses, so one should appear after the word "durability." The correct answer is, "strength and durability; it is used to make everything." Note that a comma should not appear before the "and" because "durability" is not an independent clause: commas only appear before conjunctions when combining independent clauses. Furthermore, a colon is not appropriate here because the second clause does not explain anything about the first clause of the sentence- it simply gives additional information.

Example Question #31 : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

For her New Year's resolution; Monica planned to write every day.

Possible Answers:

For her New Year's resolution Monica

For her New Year's resolution, Monica

For her New Year's resolution; Monica

For her New Year's resolution, Monica,

For her New Year's resolution; Monica,

Correct answer:

For her New Year's resolution, Monica

Explanation:

This sentence misuses a semicolon. Semicolons are used to join two independent clauses without the use of a coordinate conjunction; though, the phrase "For her new year's resolution" is a dependent clause. More specifically, it is an introductory phrase, explaining information necessary to the context of the sentence, but outside of the main sentence, grammatically. These types of phrases must be followed by a comma in order to separate them from the rest of the sentence. The correct answer choice is, "For her New Year's resolution, Monica." No additional changes are necessary.

Example Question #32 : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

When studying, Jacob used flashcards; he felt he remembered the most information using this method.

Possible Answers:

Jacob used flashcards; he felt he remembered the most information,

Jacob used flashcards: he felt he remembered the most information,

Jacob used flashcards: he felt he remembered the most information

Jacob used flashcards, he felt he remembered the most information

Jacob used flashcards; he felt he remembered the most information

Correct answer:

Jacob used flashcards: he felt he remembered the most information

Explanation:

This sentence misuses a semicolon. Semicolons are used to join two related independent clauses when a coordinate conjunction is absent. While this is the case in this sentence, a better choice is available: a colon. Colons do the same thing as semicolons, but specifically when the second clause clarifies/explains an element of- or the whole first clause. In fact, the clause "he felt he remembered the most information using this method" explains the specific reason why Jacob uses flashcards over any other method. The correct choice is, "Jacob used flashcards: he felt he remembered the most information."

Example Question #33 : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Mathew began reading many books about investing he wanted to become better at investing than Warren Buffet.

Possible Answers:

 many books about investing; he wanted to, become better

 many books about investing he wanted to become better

 many books about investing; he wanted to become better

 many books about investing, he wanted to, become better

 many books about investing, he wanted to become better

Correct answer:

 many books about investing; he wanted to become better

Explanation:

This sentence does not contain the correct punctuation where it is necessary. The sentence joins two related independent clauses together without the use of a coordinate conjunction; therefore, a semicolon is necessary between the words "investing" and "he." The correct choice is, "many books about investing; he wanted to become better."

Example Question #34 : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Even though the companies are constantly engaged in legal battles; Samretiredsinger makes parts for Apple's iPhone.

Possible Answers:

Samretiredsinger and Apple are constantly engaged in legal battles, Samretiredsinger makes

Samretiredsinger and Apple are constantly engaged in legal battles Samretiredsinger makes

Samretiredsinger and Apple are constantly engaged in legal battles, Samretiredsinger, makes

Samretiredsinger and Apple are constantly engaged in legal battles - Samretiredsinger makes

Samretiredsinger and Apple are constantly engaged in legal battles; Samretiredsinger makes

Correct answer:

Samretiredsinger and Apple are constantly engaged in legal battles, Samretiredsinger makes

Explanation:

This sentence misuses a semicolon. Semicolons are used when joining two independent clauses without the use of a coordinate conjunction. Instead, in this sentence, a dependent clause is joined to an independent clause. The phrase "Even though Samretiredsinger and Apple are constantly engaged in legal battles" is an example of an introductory phrase, explaining information necessary to the context of the sentence, but outside of the main sentence, grammatically. These types of phrases must be followed by a comma in order to separate them from the rest of the sentence. The correct answer choice is, "Samretiredsinger and Apple are constantly engaged in legal battles, Samretiredsinger makes."

Example Question #35 : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

It is unusual for a modern company to not have a website, in fact, many people do not take companies without websites seriously.

Possible Answers:

to not have a website in fact many people do not take companies

to not have a website, in fact, many people do not take companies

to not have a website; in fact; many people do not take companys

to not have a website, in fact, many people do not take companys

to not have a website; in fact, many people do not take companies

Correct answer:

to not have a website; in fact, many people do not take companies

Explanation:

This sentence misuses a comma. This sentence combines two independent clauses without the use of a coordinate conjunction. When this is the case, a semicolon must be used. A semicolon should appear before the word "in." Additionally, the phrase "in fact" is an introductory phrase, explaining information necessary to the context of the sentence, but outside of the main sentence, grammatically. These types of phrases must be followed by a comma in order to separate them from the rest of the sentence. The correct answer choice is, "to not have a website; in fact, many people do not take companies."

Example Question #36 : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Samantha listed to the radio; particularly the NPR station every day on her way to work.

Possible Answers:

the radio; particularly the NPR station every day

the radio: particularly the NPR station every day

the radio, particularly the NPR station, every day

the radio particularly the NPR station every day

the radio: particularly the NPR station, every day

Correct answer:

the radio, particularly the NPR station, every day

Explanation:

This sentence misuses a semicolon. The phrase "particularly the NPR station" is a parenthetical expression: a phrase that explains more about a particular word or phrase in the sentence, but is not introduced by a relative pronoun. These phrases must be introduced and completed with a comma in order to separate them from the main clause of the sentence. The correct answer choice is, "the radio, particularly the NPR station, every day."

Example Question #37 : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

After acquiring the tickets, Phillip and his friend would eat dinner; relax in the park; then see the show.

Possible Answers:

Phillip and his friend would eat dinner, relax in the park, then see the show.

Phillip and his friend would eat dinner; relax in the park, then see the show.

Phillip and his friend would eat dinner relax in the park then see the show.

Phillip and his friend would eat dinner; relax in the park; then see the show.

Phillip and his friend would eat dinner, relax in the park; then see the show.

Correct answer:

Phillip and his friend would eat dinner, relax in the park, then see the show.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses semicolons. Semicolons should not be used in a simple list like this (semicolons can be used in a list if the list already contains other items, like adjectives, that are separated by commas). Commas should separate the items in this list/parallel phrase instead. The correct choice is, "Phillip and his friend would eat dinner, relax in the park, then see the show."

Example Question #35 : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Monique loves to run with her dog in the park; specifically, the one right around the corner.

Possible Answers:

her dog in the park specifically, the one right around the corner.

her dog in the park: specifically, the one right around the corner.

her dog in the park; specifically, the one right around the corner.

her dog in the park specifically the one right around the corner.

her dog in the park, specifically: the one right around the corner.

Correct answer:

her dog in the park: specifically, the one right around the corner.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the semicolon. The sentence joins two related clauses to one another, but the second clause is a dependent one, and semicolons are never used to join a dependent clause to an independent one: they only join two independent clauses. The appropriate punctuation is a colon, since the second clause explains exactly which park Monique frequents. Note that a colon cannot appear after the word "specifically" because it is a part of the second clause and would therefore be out of place. The correct choice is, "her dog in the park: specifically, the one right around the corner."

Example Question #38 : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Tiffany bought a new phone; which she would use for business.

Possible Answers:

Tiffany bought a new phone: which she would use for business.

Tiffany bought a new phone which she would use for business.

Tiffany bought a new phone - which she would use for business.

Tiffany bought a new phone; which she would use for business.

Tiffany bought a new phone, which she would use for business.

Correct answer:

Tiffany bought a new phone which she would use for business.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the semicolon. Semicolons are used to join two related independent clauses, but the phrase "which she would use for business" is a dependent clause. In fact, no punctuation is necessary as this sentence is simple. "Tiffany bought a new phone which she would use for business" is the correct choice.

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